How Clarity Travel used Appraisd to unite employees

A merger in 2017 prompted Clarity to reassess its approach to performance reviews with a desire to bring everyone together in an engaging and proactive way, that would both help develop employees as well as provide senior leaders with better insights into the newly united workforce.

Moving away from paper-based employee performance reviews
of employees said they had greater visibility of their performance reviews
of managers said it was easy to complete their comments and scoring
of employees said it was easy to request feedback

Clarity Travel are business travel experts, with a reputation for exceptional customer service built up over more than 60 years. They have 15 offices around the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Many of their 600 employees are office-based, but a growing number will work remotely on a permanent basis.

<h2 class="hide">Time of a change: Taking everyone on the journey</h2>

[fs-toc-omit]Time for change

Reviews had been taking place within Clarity Travel prior to the merger, but these had been paper-based and it was a very manual process. These took a long time to prepare for, complete and assess. With a larger workforce, it was vital to find an online solution that would be easier and quicker to complete, provide robust data and highlight areas of strength and weakness.

Taking everyone on the journey

Achieving organisational alignment by bringing two organisations together with different cultures, practices and visions is never an easy task. It is difficult to overcome the traditions and history of each business and bring them together in a way that pleases the majority and brings the two entities together.

“We recognised that we needed to find a unified approach. Introducing a review system that was completely new to both organisations seemed an ideal way to bring everyone together on a shared project. It made it possible to incorporate ideas from across every part of the business to create an approach that everyone could buy into.”<div  class="author">Neil Wainwright-Farrar, Head of Learning and Development, Clarity Travel</div>

Workshops at a number of locations across the country were set up involving managers and employees from various departments to find out what they liked about the current process and what they wanted to change. From this, the HR team were able to draw up a list of requirements and begin their search for an online solution that met these needs.

Clarity Travel Team

Finding the perfect partner

“We were looking for something that would be really quick and easy to implement, that employees would instantly see the value in and find much simpler than our previous approach,” says Neil.

“We wanted something that would enable us to take a step by step approach, allowing us to take the process at our own pace, adding new elements and features as and when employees were comfortable and ready for change. Adaptability was also important. From the workshops, we had a clear idea of the process we wanted, so any system needed to be able to adapt to our requirements and not force us to follow any set process. Appraisd fitted the bill perfectly.”

“Introducing Appraisd was as straightforward as we hoped it would be. We held training workshops for managers on how to use the new system and also produced a user guide and FAQ’s support document. The rollout went smoothly, with employees only requiring minimal assistance when they’d be shown how to use Appraisd. There were some initial teething problems around viewing the system on different internet browsers, but the Customer Success Team provided speedy and practical support to address the issue."

Benefits around performance and beyond

“There is no doubt that employees are much more engaged with their reviews now than they were before”, says Neil. “They are finding them much easier to complete and have a far better understanding of how they are performing against their goals. Teams across the business are working more collaboratively and have a much deeper understanding of how their department contributes to the overall goals of the organisation.”

“It’s not just in performance terms that we’ve seen the benefits. It’s helped us reinforce and live up to our brand values more effectively. Around a third of objectives are tied to our brand values and this has helped these come to the fore and become part of everyday behaviour.”

Clarity conducted an employee survey in 2019 to find out what employees thought of Appraisd. The results show what a significant impact it has had and how much easier employees find it using this approach:

  • 90% of employees said they had greater visibility of their performance review
  • 93% of employees said it was easy to complete their self-assessment
  • 92% of managers said it was easy to complete their comments and scoring
  • 95% of employees said it was easy to request feedback

Here are just a few comments from Clarity employees:

“I like the way I am now able to update comments each month, so when it comes to the next appraisals, I'll be ready for it.”

“I liked the fact that you had a chance to write how you felt you had done on your objectives instead of it being one-sided.”

“It was quick and easy and could be accessed in our own time, even at home. Requesting feedback from colleagues there was brilliant.”

“I like that I can dip in and out and save comments in a draft. It's easy to use and it keeps reminding you when the appraisal is, so you are prompted to prep well in advance.”

The comments from the questionnaire helped Clarity to hone their process, making adjustments to improve the experience. One issue raised was around where those on probation fitted into the review cycle. A new approach has been taken with these employees, with a dedicated form created for those on probation, making the review far more relevant.

<h2 class="hide">The future: Embracing the hybrid workplace</h2>

[fs-toc-omit]The future

The events of 2020 have been challenging for many organisations, especially those in the travel industry like Clarity. This has led to major changes and a new home working department will be set to adjust the business to a post-Covid 19 world. As a cloud-based system, Appraisd is ideal for those working away from a fixed office, as it can be accessed anywhere on any device. Once the team is up and running, they will implement working from home check-ins, to ensure managers pay close attention to the wellbeing of these employees and can quickly identify if anyone is struggling with their workload.

Clarity Travel is also planning to implement 1-2-1 check-ins for all their employees in the new future. This will complement their annual reviews, ensuring objectives remain relevant and providing a platform for issues to be raised and discussed as and when they arise.

“The last few months have shown how important it is as an organisation to be agile and ready for change. Having Appraisd, and the support of their Customer Success team gives me the confidence to know that we’ll be ideally placed to evolve our performance management process, no matter what the future holds or where our employees are based.”<div  class="author">Neil Wainwright-Farrar, Head of Learning and Development at Clarity Travel</div>
Organisational alignment